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Amazon on Hiring Spree as Musk’s Starlink Quits India Over Licensing

Amazon on Hiring Spree as Musk’s Starlink Quits India Over Licensing

NEW DELHI, (IANS) – As Elon Musk-run SpaceX abandoned its affordable internet project Starlink in India, Amazon has ramped up its efforts to launch its fast and cheaper internet service called ‘Project Kuiper’ in the country.

The company has posted several job openings for Project Kuiper in the country. One job posting in Bengaluru seeks to hire a manager to “execute and handle the project’s licensing strategy in India and Asia-Pacific”.

The other job opening is for Business Strategy Lead, Country Development, Project Kuiper in Haryana.

Project Kuiper is an initiative to launch a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites that will provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved communities around the world.

The company said that the “Kuiper Country Development team is focused on launching and operating the Kuiper service across the globe”.

TechCrunch first reported the latest development. Musk’s Starlink is currently available in more than 32 countries.

Starlink registered its business in India via a local unit, Starlink Satellite Communications, and targeted a rollout in April this year.

However, the Department of Telecommunications last year warned Starlink to get the necessary permission required to offer satellite-based Internet services in the country. The government told Starlink to stop “booking/rendering the satellite internet service” in India without a license.

Starlink later announced that it will apply for a commercial license in India by January 31, which never happened.

Sanjay Bhargava, India Director for Starlink, stepped down in January amid government pressure to get necessary permission for offering satellite-based Internet services.

Responding to a follower in May on Starlink, Musk tweeted: “We are waiting for government approval”.

Meanwhile, Amazon in April announced the biggest rocket deal in the commercial space industry’s history, signing a pact with three rocket companies for up to 83 launches under its Project Kuiper internet satellites.

The tech giant signed contracts for launches with United Launch Alliance, Arianespace, and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.

The contracts total up to 83 launches over a five-year period, providing capacity for Amazon to deploy most of its 3,236-satellite constellation.

Like Musk’s Starlink, Amazon’s Project Kuiper aims to provide high-speed, low-latency broadband to a wide range of customers, including individual households, schools, hospitals, businesses, government agencies, disaster relief operations, mobile operators, and other organizations working in places without reliable internet connectivity.

There are now more than 1,000 people at Amazon working on Project Kuiper. Amazon said it will invest over $10 billion in its satellite internet network.

Starlink has already launched more than 2,000 satellites since 2019, and many more will go up soon.

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